I’ve been living in Brooklyn, NY since 2010, but you couldn’t call me a city dweller. I spend so much time outside of the city, I’ve been considering taking up residence in my car for the next few months. (Don’t tell my mom.)

When I hear the word “adventure”, I don’t necessarily think of big mountains and vast oceans. I think about bushwhacking for unnecessary hours, wrong turns and car breakdowns, driving down unknown highways at 4 a.m., and the ever familiar retreat back to your car/apartment/campsite in blinding, freezing cold rain with no shell.

Most adventures begin sleeping on airport floors—obviously.

A perfect autumn day at Tennessee Wall

This adventure went from cold car camping in Red River Gorge to the La Guardia airport floor. I made a floor buddy, drank some whiskey, and smuggled two large pizzas onto my flight and woke up to big, beautiful, clear Tennessee skies.

There was a Dirtbag Climber reunion at Tennessee Wall. There is no other place like T-wall in the autumn. I knew from my first trip that I would be back. T-wall is sort of like the Gunks, except someone took the cliff and flipped it on its side, then gave the roofs a bunch of steroids. It is…magnificent.

Kenzi Lewis enjoying her first view at Twall atop Quick and Dirty (5.8)
Mark Pugeda: “No, seriously. I want a fist bump.”

We hiked a ways to find Fists of Fury (5.12c) at Paradise Falls. It’s a seriously badass roof crack. We warmed up on climbs to the right during the day. It was starting to get late, but I tied into the rope and armed myself with a headlamp (you just never know.) I started up the first fifteen feet of Fists and burled my way through the moves, taking on a lot of my gear. It felt like it took hours to just successfully make my way through the first little roof, and we had completely lost the sunlight. Admitting defeat, I had to down aid all of my pieces. Though I was worked, I’m glad to have tried the beginning section. I will be back, without a doubt. My fists are ready…and furious.

All in the business now. Photograph by Mark Pugeda

Heading back to the airport, I thought about what an adventure November has been. I didn’t make it to the Valley. I haven’t made it out west yet. There’s a lot that I haven’t done. I can tell you what I DID have, though: a buttload of fun. And November is nowhere near over.

Home is kind of a funny thing. This past year especially, I’ve become really good at nesting and feeling at home wherever I go. I think it’s a good life skill to have. Maybe home isn’t so much a place, but instead, a feeling. Whatever my latitude and longitude are, I know that the true joy of life comes from being content where I am, at whatever moment. For this reason, what I consider to be “home” is constantly changing for me. Home is wherever I am at that particular moment in time. So, when I see those first lights flying into La Guardia, I’ll know that I’m already there.

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